I’ve been seeing a lot of articles on the internet lately about what it’s like to be a twentysomething. The good ones tend to strike a balance between tough love and pep talk. I’m all for both of those things, but I don’t think any of the articles I’ve seen quite hit the nail on the head. That, of course, is because none of them were written by me. It’s time that we amended that.
High schoolers tend to be full of angst. Twentysomethings, in my experience, tend to be riddled with anxiety. There’s a difference. Most of us go through that Holden Caulfield stage when we’re fifteen or sixteen where we’re convinced that everyone is a phony and that nothing is “real”. There’s nothing wrong with that. The world is full of phonies, and it’s perfectly natural to look around at this fucked up world we live in and get bitter and cynical. I am bitter and cynical. I was bitter and cynical when I was in high school, and now that I am older, I’m still bitter and cynical. All that’s changed is that I have a bit more perspective. Sometimes, it’s actually a bit scary. It used to be that every time something bad happened, I panicked. Now, I tend to think, “What the hell, I can handle this.” Perversely, something seems wrong with that. I can’t handle everything. I am unbelievably amazing, but the world is vicious and cruel. I know that because I just finished season three of Game of Thrones and if you don’t know what happens at the Red Wedding, I’m curious as to how you’re reading this blog since you apparently live in a place without the internet.
Anyway, I’m getting really tired of people talking about young people like we’re all a bunch of entitled brats. I’m also tired of people talking to me like I just need to learn to love myself and I’ll get everything I want. This is the part where people start to settle into a groove–or at least, they try to. People I went to high school with are getting married to other people I went to high school with. I have officially reached the age at which I hang out with married people and their married spouses. Everyone is getting married on Game of Thrones. Oh yeah, and there were those SCOTUS rulings about marriage equality. No, I’m not fixated on this. Why do you ask?
The tricky part about progress is that the closer you get to your destination, the scarier the ascent becomes. You look back at all of the shit the world has thrown at you and wonder if the worst is still to come. (Hint: it is.) And that’s frightening. I’ve met a lot of shitty people in my lifetime. They all think I don’t get it, that I just don’t understand how the world works, but I know better. When I was a kid, a lot of adults told me that life had a way of sanding the edges off of your dreams, of making you realize that you should stop trying to change the world and just try to live in it. I think that’s bullshit. My ambitions are so lofty that they border on megalomania, and you might think that having to move back in with one’s father for the third time and get a job at a coffee shop to pay off $400,000,000,000 in student loans might crush one’s spirit, but make no mistake, I still intend to conquer the world someday. Maybe I’ll just have to serve really good coffee. All I know is that
you will kneel before me I can do better than this.
I don’t really have the time or the energy to feel sorry for anything I’ve done. That’s why I’m wary of all of these “20 Things I Wish I’d Known in My 20s” articles or whatever they’re called. They’re all written by people in their 30s and 40s who think they remember what it was like, but are really just using hindsight to gloss over the parts that made that period interesting. Are we really that different from the Baby Boomers or the Generation Xers? I keep hearing about how young people think they’re going to live forever, but I spend most of my time trying to forget that I’ll never be this young again so that I can fucking enjoy myself. I have a vague idea of what I want. It gets clearer every day. And I will get it or die trying.
I think what it really boils down to is Facebook. Social media has instilled in us that desire to put on a front, to use every drama into an excuse to make passive-aggressive swipes and fish for compliments and use every triumph as an excuse to glamorize our own life more than it probably deserves. Hey, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go on there. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t treat people on social media any differently than you do anywhere else. I hate it when I call somebody out on an offensive or racist comment they made and they respond by saying that I shouldn’t get into arguments with people on the internet. Fuck you. I’ll get into arguments with anyone anywhere and anytime I like. I’m not trying to change your opinion; I’m just trying to understand why you feel the need to drag gun control into a discussion about gay rights.
One more thing before I go: I keep hearing a lot of talk about how “friendzone” is a sexist term, as it implies that a man (it’s always a man who gets friendzoned) is entitled to sex from a female friend just because he doesn’t slap her around or anything. That’s how the term is often used, but not, I think, how it was intended. I’ve known nice guys who have gotten into friendships with self-destructive women, then had their feelings hurt when she rebuffs them for being “too nice”. To their credit, they took no for an answer and, realizing that the woman in question didn’t have the self-respect necessary to recognize a genuinely decent guy when she saw one, sought out love elsewhere. There are some women who are just manipulative shrews who want someone wrapped around their finger so they can run to them when their bad boy boyfriend does something bad, and there are misogynistic douchebags who think not being a serial rapist is the same as being a good person. It cuts both ways, people, is what I’m trying to say.
That’s all for now. This video sums it up, really.